Philippine Football Pres. Nonong Araneta played basketball for UP in UAAP

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 03, 2020 11:42 AM
PFF Pres. Nonong Araneta played ball for UP in UAAP
Nonong Araneta (jersey no. 8) poses for a group photo with the rest of the UP Men's Basketball Team (Photo courtesy of Nonong Araneta)

Nonong Araneta has been at the helm of Philippine football for more than a decade now.

Installed as President of the Philippine Football Federation in 2010, he has overseen the growth in the country of both the sport and the Azkals.

Of course, the 65-year-old is a football lifer, born and bred in the country's hotbed for footballers in Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo and before suiting up for the University of the Philippines in UAAP Men's Football.

As it turns out, though, football wasn't his only love.

Araneta also played basketball for the Fighting Maroons - and apparently came close to going semi-pro.

"Nag-UAAP ako dati, then there was the MICAA (Manila Industrial and Commercial Athletic Association)," he told Cedelf Tupas in the Crossover Podcast last Tuesday. "Yung coach ko kasi sa UP, si Fely Fajardo, said na once you graduate from UP, we want to get you for Mariwasa. They will give an allowance every month basta the agreement is when you graduate from UAAP, you play for the club."

This, all while he was leading State U to three titles in Men's Football and was taking civil engineering.

The MICAA wasn't meant to be for the Ilonggo, however. "I was already part of the team for the MICAA Invitational. I already had my uniform and we were getting ready, but that was the time when MICAA owners decided to put up PBA," he recalled.

He then continued, "So hindi natuloy yung MICAA Invitational. Sabi ni (coach) Fely nun, 'Bata, ano, pro?' Pero sagot ko, 'Sir, tapusin ko muna pag-aaral ko sa UP.'"

That was to be the last taste of competitive basketball for Araneta as he went on to wear the flag in football.

Still, he has no doubt that he was a capable and confident baller - all thanks to the skills he developed from football. "I was a point guard and because of my football training, anybody who was a shooter, I was assigned to guard because my reflexes were better. Sa UAAP nga, I had a lot of (steals) because I can run backwards," he shared.

He then continued, "My feet my fast and my hands were faster- yun ang advantage ng football player (sa basketball). That, and yung stamina - as long as you're not in foul trouble, babad ka."

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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